Friday, March 7, 2014

#BIT14 - 24/7 Conference Planning

A year ago, when Doug Peterson and I began the monumental task of moving the annual ECOO conference from the GTA to Niagara Falls, we had no idea what was ahead for us. I don't think either of us could have predicted just how much time we would need to devote to this project.

As things progressed, we found that emailing each other back and forth a hundred times a day wasn't totally effective so we started doing Google Hangouts. Daily. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. If a day went by without a Hangout, it seemed strange. What we discovered very early on is that Doug is very much a morning person and I am a nighthawk. This often resulted in communication gaps, but we filled in the gaps when we each worked best: Doug at 5:00 am and me at midnight.

Now we're at it again - planning for #BIT14. Not quite at the stage of requiring daily (or hourly) Hangouts, but certainly many emails back and forth. The other day, Doug emailed me at some ungodly hour of the morning and summarized - perhaps - why the 2013 Bring IT, Together conference succeeded as it did.

He said:

"Damn, I'm full of ideas first thing in the morning.  You work best at night.  This conference gets the benefit of a chair 24/7!"

It is so true. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

An anniversary...of sorts

Today is the first anniversary of my last day of work and I find myself wondering where this last year has gone. What people say about retirement is so true - I am much busier than I have ever been!

A few weeks before my last day at OTF, I had a conversation with my friend Jeff Holmes. Hard to believe, but I was bordering on a bit of a panic. I was so worried that I wouldn't know how to fill my days, that I would be bored, lonely and totally lost without a daily routine. HAH!!

Before long I had signed on to do some contract work for OSSTF, then some work for OTF. At the same time, I had rehearsals for uxperience, the Uxbridge variety show for which I am the music director, and I was ridiculously busy organizing Bring IT, Together, the annual ECOO conference, with my good friend and co-chair, Doug Peterson. Looking back, I think I spent more time every day in front of my computer than I did when I was working full-time. Insane.

In May I was elected to the Board of Directors for the Condo Corporation where I live. Not overly time-consuming, but another 'job' to do.

In June, I joined the Rotary Club of Uxbridge - maybe because I actually thought I didn't have enough on my plate. Rotary is all about 'service above self' and brings a whole new meaning to volunteerism. I love being part of the Rotary 'family', even though the meetings are at 7:00 am on Thursdays - I am NOT a morning person. As a member of the Youth & Vocational Committee, I have agreed to help form an Interact (Rotary for youth 12-18) Club at Uxbridge SS.

The months have flown by. The fall was busy with conference planning, daily Google hangouts with Doug and trying to find time to plan my retirement celebration from OTF. The conference was a huge success, Christmas was the usual craziness (except that I had a few hours with both of my daughters on Christmas Day for the first time in 9 years) and in late January I finally celebrated my retirement from OTF. This was good closure for me.

As I complete my first year of retirement, I realize that I am not slowing down at all. Doug and I have started the planning for round 2 of Bring IT, Together; uxperience is in full swing for the May show; I'm involved with several Rotary activities and I am finding a need to make a to-do list for year 2 of retirement.

The number one thing to do this year is to learn how to say 'NO'!!